See through

Hi,

The other day I was talking with Susie – as much as you can in an email ๐Ÿ™‚ – and the topic of being recognised came up. Not from a passing point of view, but on being seen for your other identity.

Thinking on this later, I did wonder if I might be from the same planet as Clark Kent. I mean, we both have secret identities, an extra pair of knickers helps keep your tights up, and we’ve have had to get changed in inconvenient locales. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have his physique and the laser vision would certainly be handy for summer BBQs.

All that aside, when I go through the process of getting changed, even though the clothing & padding change my shape, the makeup & hair alter my face; I can still look through all of that and see my regular features. Sometimes the magic happens and the day to day me is more difficult to spot. That’s a real feel good moment. It’s not that I dislike being Richard, it’s more that after going to all that effort, I’d like to see the benefit ๐Ÿ™‚

That ‘seeing through it’ seems to be something that other folk at Chams have said about themselves as well. Specifically, in that we see our trans friend as they present, we can’t see Bob instead of through Kate. Yet, with ourselves, we somehow look by the hair, the shape, and all the rest.

I think it’s down to a combination of familiarity of our own features and also wanting to be realistic. Realistic as rooted in the real world, rather than the application of padding, slap, and a wig make us unrecognisable.

Yet for all that, the quick glance in the street or someone passing by in a crowd, maybe that’s enough. That’s assuming the people in the crowd are actually looking, as it seems most folk are caught up in their own little world. I know I often am. ๐Ÿ™‚

Perhaps we can take two things from this: firstly, yeah, we may stand out as trans, but not necessarily be spotted for our other selves. Lastly, if our appearance is good enough to wander around as is, what’s stopping us from getting out there?

L x

PS: Wednesday was International Non-binary Day (details here if you’re curious). Oh and BBC iPlayer is streaming The Watch and features the rather fabulous Jo Eaton-Kent. Yay for representation! ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ

14 Comments

  1. Overlong familiarity with our own faces might make it easier for us, and perhaps those closest to us*, to see our old faces through even the most carefully applied make up, but I wonder if there might be other non-facial clues – our voice, the way we walk – that people who know us would be able to recognise, but we may not be quite as aware.
    [* although my partner once spotted a photo of Susie on my screen and asked “who’s she?”]

    1. Good call. I hadn’t thought of body language or other posture habits we might have.

      Conversely, in the rare times I get to go dancing, I have to remember to stick with a more male approach and be too free with how I move.

      1. Gait and posture is a bit of a difficult one to judge since we never usually look at ourselves from an outside perspective unless we are deliberately checking how we might look – e.g in a shop window reflection – when out.

        1. Sorry, I was thinking more on the smaller movements, such as how we tilt our head, set our shoulders, or position our arms.

          The gait or walk is something I think we need to work on. Not so much the walk-with-a-book-on-your-head but certainly not the strut and stomp of a bulldog looking for a lamppost ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. My female and male presentation are totally different, and I’m glad of that as I cannot see my male self at all. I’ve had friends who knew the male me look straight through me with zero recognition when I happened to pass them in female mode. I prefer it that way! Though I don’t ‘pass’ as female on close inspection, at least no one knows it’s Bob. Sue x

    1. So long as you’re being left to get on with life, I think that’s probably enough.

      What was it like to be looked by, by friends? Just curious. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Heart-stopping for a moment, and then almost triumph as their blank expression made it clear I was just some random woman to them. Whereas I saw them clearly for who they were, I wasn’t the person they knew so they didn’t see and recognise. It made me more confident going out in my local area. Sue x

        1. I’ve had something similar when I was brave/foolish enough to drop in on a craft fair run by people we know. The glance across the room wasn’t complete zero recognition but more a puzzled look that said ‘I’m sure I’ve seen that person before but I can’t place where’.

    2. Sue – I just read your last post (Face Off) inspired by Lynn’s post here. I wanted to leave a comment but couldn’t see any way how to. I hope Lynn will forgive me for hijacking her own on this topic post to do so here. You wrote some wise words about appearance, surgery and dysmorphia. (It’s my chin I always see, no matter how much I tell myself Reese Witherspoon has a prominent chin and is fanciable as hell.) And you are so right about being addressed as “Madam” being something that can make your whole day.

  3. Reading this as I wrestle with the idea (and it is just an idea at this stage) of going to spend a day in [major city in the UK] without my usual disguise. On the one hand: something I absolutely want to try. On the other: eek.

    As yet, I have none of the welter of product available to really ‘put in the work’ and so would be ‘made’ relatively quickly, I feel. Not to mention the gait and whatnot. But a city would be anonymous and so, as you say, it would be as someone else rather than Bob.

    My only other comment here is that, increasingly, I find myself thinking of not dressing as the cross-dressing, the disguise. But that may simply be passing fancy, a mere whimsy.

    1. If the city is a reasonable distance from home and is safe, what’s really stopping you?

      I think most of us are read/clocked/sussed at some point and for various reasons: build, walk, voice, etc. TBH, if you want to go out, take a deep breath, and go – knickers to passing ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. That is the crux of the issue! ๐Ÿ™‚

        We shall see what the future brings (but I’m totally going to bottle it as the day would start with leaving the car for a service and I’m not ready for that interaction *just* yet). But, who knows, the future is bright.

        I realise I missed the point in the comment: you’re totally right in what you say here!

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